The Paul Brown Stadium gates open for the first time on Aug. 16, 2000 and Cincinnati police estimate about 130,000 stream through the riverfront super structure during an open house between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. The club is expecting about 25,000 for the entire six hours, but by 6:30 the count is already at 35,000 passing through sampling concessions and seats and touring the player facilities. Two of the most popular figures in Cincinnati history, mayor Charlie Luken and former Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, are among the speakers. But Bengals president Mike Brown knows why the people are here. "They were here to see, not hear," he says.
And they like what they see as Bengals.com wanders through the crowd. Kerry Doner, from New Lebanon, Ohio and a season-ticket holder for 10 years, shows up in a No. 7 jersey and observes, "It doesn't look like there's a bad seat in the place." Raymond Chapman, a general contractor who lives in Fort Wright, Ky., has a pretty good seat as he rests during his tour in the locker stall of linebacker Adrian Ross. "Every seat looks to be a good seat," Chapman says. "There's nothing on the field you can miss. At the old stadium, sometimes you'd have to hang over a railing to see. I'm impressed by the way it's laid out. I can't get over the fact they got so much done in that amount of time. They talk about problems and all that. I look at it and they've had no problems. None whatsoever."
Even those who come to such edifices for a job are casting admiring glances. Ed Stupak, a retired Channel 9 cameraman living in Groesbeck, brings his seasoned eye to the new yard after following the play for 40 years in places like Crosley Field and Riverfront Stadium. "After doing games at Crosley, and then going to Riverfront, you thought that was the greatest. You thought that was as good as it was going to get for the time," Stupak says. "But I see this … If they can continue to build like this; the city is really going to have something. It's not symmetrical. You don't feel like you're boxed in. It's airy. There's an open edge. I go to a lot of Michigan games and it reminds me of some college stadiums. With a lot of the seats on the sidelines, it brings you close to the field."